I devoured a delicious Roti de Bar de Mer (sea bass with citrus beurre blanc and crispy leeks) at a swank private function at the Grand Café in San Francisco last night. The dinner also included a puffy, enormous butter lettuce salad arranged whimsically on the plate like a ruffled pale green rose; and copious amounts of very good wine.
Located in an architecturally restored, turn-of-the-century ballroom, the Grand Café is a stunning Parisian brasserie-style restaurant. The so-high-you-feel-giddy ceilings are elaborately decorated; large columns, covered with tiny mosaic tiles, contribute a brilliant glitter to the space, and fanciful, art nouveau-inspired paintings adorn the walls. If you want to impress a first date, this is the place to bring 'em. Note: If you visit in the winter, be sure to request the Cassoulet Maison, a traditional (and luscious) French dish prepared from housemade boudin blanc and garlic sausages, duck confit, braised lamb shoulder, smoked bacon and butter beans.
501 Geary at Taylor Street; San Francisco, (415) 292-0101; www.grandcafe-sf.com